Nick Smith is one of only several hundred people worldwide who have the genetic condition primordial dwarfism and has already had eight major operations. Doctors then discovered he has a potentially fatal aneurysm - a bulge in an artery leading to his brain that could burst at any time - and this film follows Nick over the course of three months as medical staff try to save his life. Nick Smith is adored by his mum and two strapping brothers, who play ball games with him and indulge his adoration of his hero, cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. Nick is happy in his own little world, mercifully unaware of the realities of his rare genetic condition. He’s a primordial dwarf, a tiny, tiny man/boy with the intellectual capacity of a seven-year-old. By the age of 18 he’d had three life-saving operations and now needs another, to disperse a brain aneurysm. In this touching film we follow Nick as he attends school and meets his friends, other young men and women who are primordial dwarves.
It is easy to understand why Chausson’s Concert is not as regular a feature of concert programmes as, say, Franck’s Violin Sonata. After all, a work for piano, violin and string quartet must surely have an instrumental imbalance. How can Chausson occupy all three violin parts for nearly forty minutes? In short, he does not. Nor does he try. Much of the Concert is essentially a sonata for violin and piano with an accompanying, though essential, string quartet. Chausson’s refusal to involve the quartet at every juncture merely to justify the players’ fees results in a signally well-balanced late Romantic work. When the quartet does feature on an equal footing, the effect is all the more telling. The fingerprints of Franck can be detected readily throughout the Concert, but in this and the Piano Quartet, Chausson’s individuality overcomes his teacher’s influence. Indeed, there are premonitions of Debussy, Ravel and even Shostakovich. Tangibly the product of live performances, these accounts traverse the gamut of emotions, bristling with energy, lyricism and conviction, and ensuring that this disc will never gather much dust.